While concussions can happen at any time and in any sport, the rate of incidence increases in high impact sports such as football and soccer. With the start of the new school year around the corner and many of our children already practicing on the playgrounds and fields of Loudoun County, it is important for families to recognize the signs / symptoms of concussions and the steps necessary for proper healing.
What is a concussion / how does it occur?
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that occurs when trauma to the head and neck cause a vigorous, unnatural impact to the brain. The brain essentially is shaken inside the skull as a result of either a direct blow to the head, neck or body or via an indirect force such as whiplash. It is important to realize that one does NOT need to lose consciousness (pass out) or have memory loss to have sustained a concussion nor do cuts or bruises on the face neck or head accompany every concussion.
Signs and Symptoms of Concussions
Concussions can affect one’s physical, emotional and mental well-being. Signs and symptoms of concussions include but are NOT limited to:
- Headaches, dizziness, difficulty with balance / coordination
- Fatigue, difficulty with sleeping, difficulty awakening from sleep
- Sensitivity to light and sound, enlarged pupils
- “Fogginess”, difficulty concentrating, reduced ability to think through problems
- Irritability, anxiousness, restlessness, decreased tolerance of stress
How Chiron Physical Therapy Can Help
Physical therapists are licensed health care professionals who are experts when it comes to the mechanics of the body and how the muscles, joints and skeletal structure work with one another. Because no two concussions are alike, your Chiron family will evaluate and assess the individual’s symptoms and limitations and design a personalized treatment program.
Examples of treatment may include:
- Balance and gait training to reduce unsteadiness on one’s feet.
- Neck strengthening exercises and manual stretching to reduce headaches.
- Increasing anaerobic and aerobic activities in a safe, non-biased, objective environment to ensure the individual can return to their sport healthy and at the right time.
- Concussed athletes often stay “I’m fine” to their coaches, friends and parents.
- In our office, we can safely progress the athlete through activities and intensity of activities with the results being measured objectively vs. subjectively thereby ensuring their safety.
In addition to helping one recover from a concussion, Chiron’s physical therapists can design neck strengthening exercises and core stabilizing programs which will help reduce the risk of concussions. By increasing the strength and stability of the muscles of the neck and trunk, one minimizes the impact of injuries and likelihood of concussions.
When it comes to concussions and recovery from them, ALWAYS err on the side of caution. Time IS your friend. The brain won’t have time to heal if you increase physical exertion or if you increase cognitive demands too soon. And remember, experiencing a second trauma / concussion too close to the first has an exponential impact on recovery, not simply the same impact.
Chiron Physical Therapy...committed to the health of our student - athletes in Loudoun County. We wish all of our young athletes a safe, successful sports season.